5 Reasons why the establishment media in the US is far from liberal

Conservatives love to rant and rave about America’s Liberal Media. In this generation, it has become an obsessive conservative and GOP talking point. Nearly every conservative radio station and lawmaker has spread the rather ludicrous idea that the establishment media in America is overwhelmingly liberal. Please, allow me to help dispel this myth.

The overriding conservative propaganda is that the US media is a predominantly liberal establishment, one which does not give fair coverage. I will present some rather interesting facts that show quite the opposite. It is clear that based on the way in which the media behaves in the US, they are far from liberal. If anything, the establishment media is fairly conservative in many respects.

Myth #1 The Iraq War:

When the Bush Administration prepared the country to go to war in Iraq between 2002-2003, the “liberal media” was as mute as it could be when it came to critiquing the idea of going to war. Looking back, it’s no wonder how the people of the United States was so easily talked into going to war. The media effectively censored the voices of those who dared speak against the Iraq War.

Notable examples came from MSNBC, the “liberal” news network. Phil Donahue was the highest rated show on MSNBC in 2002, but after he criticized the Bush Administration’s war plans, his show was pulled and he was let go from the network. Jesse Ventura was to be a given show, but was also pulled when he criticized the war as well. Ashleigh Banfield from CNN was also pulled when she criticized media coverage of the war.

Myth #2 Neutrality at All Cost:

If the media is so liberal, why does it always go for total neutrality in its “reporting?” How many filibusters have Republicans in the Senate used to block bills brought forward by the Democrats? How much disinformation has the Republican Party spread about Obamacare? Each and every time the Republicans hold the government hostage or spread horrendous lies, the so-called liberal media plays the neutrality card and never calls out the GOP for its fabrications on issues ranging from economics to climate change.

It’s all he said, she said nonesense, “Well the Democrats say this, and Republicans say that. Well I guess they’re both equally valid.” No. One side is clearly right and the other is never clearly wrong. Yet the media must always be neutral and never take a side, even at the cost of reporting the truth. A stunningly liberal media it’s not.

Liberal media biasMyth #3 National Security:

If the media were truly liberal, it certainly would not be so complicit when it comes to the dealings of the creepy national security state. Media coverage on bills like the PATRIOT Act and AUMF were overwhelmingly complicit with government policy, and much like Iraq largely abstained from airing the voices of critics.

For the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, the media have been lions in defending the NSA. Almost no major defense of the actions of Manning and Snowden have been put out, surprising for a media that is so liberal.

Myth #4 The Economy:

For a liberal media, it seems rather strange to see so many conservative fabrication’s and failures on the economy get a pass. This speaks to networks like CNN and CNBC who often have anchors who ferociously defend Wall Street and the Banking sector.

Even as the Banks committed potentially criminal fraud and crashed the economy in 2008, no major news outlet pushes to have the big banks investigated and those responsible for the crash held accountable. If anything, the media has gone out its way to avoid the issue.

Myth #5 ACORN and Breitbart Journalism:

If the liberal media bias did exist, then why was it so easy for the misinformation campaign against the organization ACORN to spread? ACORN was primarily a voter drive organization that helped to register people in poor neighborhoods to vote, and help in charity work as well.

Yet the organization was defunded and shut down between 2009-2010 due to fabricated video footage shot by fraud conservative activist James O’Keefe who released the faux story of ACORN supporting prostitution through Andrew Breitbart.

Andrew Breitbart was also responsible for spreading false stories about Shirley Sherrod, Van Jones, and many others. In many cases the “liberal media” went right along with this misinformation and helped contribute to the firing of Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones from the Obama Administration as well as the shutting down of ACORN.

The list above is merely a shortlist of debunking the myths of the liberal media. The mainstream media in America is overwhelmingly neutral, if not very conservative. The media makes no major push to discredit the falsehoods of conservatives, and in fact goes out its way to remain neutral at the cost of reporting the facts.

The media is more vested in ratings and access to politicians than it is in reporting the truth. The truth often tends to lean left in so many cases. Rather than report this truth, the media calls it “even” while trying to appease the right-wing and corporatist elements of the establishment. The best quote I could give on this matter is something that Stephen Colbert once said about the nature of reality;

“The media promises to report on reality. But we know that reality has a well known liberal bias.”





  1. Here is what I learned in journalism school that are more evident now than they were forty years ago:

    1.You cannot get all your news from broadcast news. The average broadcast news story lasts less than two minutes and are in an entertainment medium feigning for relevancy. Of course they are going to target the sensational or unusual.

    2. Reading the lead in a newspaper story (or in the new age “online news source”) is not going to give you the facts to evaluate the news. This was true during with the Watergate break-in, the Vietnam War, the Reagan tax cuts, the gulf wars and Bush 43’s financial fiasco) as it is now with the ACA, NSA spying and budget shutdowns.

    3. Newspapers and respectable online new sources are inherently conservative. They are in the business of making money. While most people that make a buck as a news reporters are more will educated than the general public and tend to be more “liberal” ( I hate that word but use it as a matter of expedience) the nature of the business balances this out.

  2. Al Franken’s awesome “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” blames the real media bias on two things: sensationalism and laziness. The first point you mentioned; the news chases ratings. It’s info-tainment. The second point you didn’t touch on. Most news organizations just publish stories that were first broken by other news outlets. They do minimal-to-no fact checking. If one news outlet deems it fit to run with, another outlet will either copy their news or spin it in the desired direction.

    I personally think there’s a slight liberal bias in most media (more so outside the US). Al Franken also mentions a survey of journalists and editors that suggested the majority of journalists are liberal, while the majority of editors and publishers are conservative. There’s obviously an inherent struggle there, but the foundation of news appears to be liberal.

    And here’s where I really jump the shark. I personally believe that the truth is inherently more liberal. Let me explain. I think, as is, conservatives seem to care less about facts and more about spin. In fact, I believe this is why most of my conservative friends are conservative: their politics is a politics of winning. They don’t care about facts. They’re not bookish, Stephane Dion academic-types. They’re WWE Champion types, who know how to get under your skin and boil down any policy argument to emotional, entertaining talking points (I’m thinking of Ann Coulter, Rob Ford, Rush Limbaugh, Herman Cain, Bill O’Reilly, George W Bush, etc.) Obviously this is a generalization that has many exceptions, but it still merits consideration.

    On the liberal side, even comedy programs like The Daily Show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, or SNL can offer real news information that is often missing is the mainstream news media. Stewart and Colbert have especially perfected the craft of offering real news with their entertainment. But these shows have a very liberal bias, insomuch that the creative forces writing the jokes are liberals. Their moral values are liberal and their politics are liberal. However, they still attack liberal politicians and liberal parties. Though they are liberal, they are also interested in the truth. You don’t see that from Fox News or Sun News Network.

    That greater reverence for truth, embodied in liberal comedy shows, is especially noticeable in “liberal” news outlets like the CBC. Yes, I believe it’s liberally biased. But, that’s just because Canadians are liberally-inclined (Harper still only got a minority of the vote, though a majority of seats). They still attack the liberal and centrist parties. They still attack liberal causes. They are simply more inclined to do actual journalism with actual facts.

    I believe a truthful media is inherently biased by liberalism. But a liberal bias is not comparable to a conservative bias. The difference is a reverence for truth and real journalism.

  3. Meanwhile MSNBC edits audio to make George Zimmerman look like a racist. How cute.

    AP has reported that Zimmerman “identifies as Hispanic.” How does that even make sense?

    Also, it’s called selective reporting. Where was Benghazi?

    • I don’t see how your examples show the media is liberal. MSNBC is mostly an opinion network like FOX, they are not the mainstream established press. The AP example isn’t really relevant, and trust me everyone was reporting on the non-issue that was the Benghazi affair. The amount of reporting done on Benghazi actually works more in favor of the article’s points that the media is far from a bastion of liberalism.

  4. The “main stream media” whether cable news or major networks is watered down and basically hides the facts…thanks to Rachel and Lawrence, John and Stephen, at least some true perspective and facts are reported.

  5. As a fan of Rachel Maddow, I can tell you that none of your points apply to her show or Lawrence O’Donnell’s (which I sometimes see after Rachel) or Stewart and Colbert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that media does have an unnecessary liberal bias (the idea of investigative journalism has struck me as a somewhat liberal thing to do), I’m just saying there are better way to make this argument. These examples seem pretty weak to me and I’m on your side.

    • When we discuss “the mainstream news” we are discussing the general established media outlets (CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, New York Times, Washington Post, AP etc.) Shows like Rachael Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz and so on are good steps in a more progressive direction, but even MSNBC has to play by certain establishment rules. If you want more info of what I’m talking about, look into Cenk Uygur and how he was basically pushed out of MSNBC because he wasn’t being nice enough to politicians he had on his show. The five examples given are merely drops in the bucket of overall instances the established media outlets are not liberal but are in fact centrist or in many instances conservative (excluding Fox).

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